05/14/2015 11:17AM

Preakness Stakes: Pedigree profiles

Barbara D. Livingston
American Pharoah is by Pioneerof the Nile, who was represented by last year's Preakness third-place finisher Social Inclusion.

by Joe Nevills and Nicole Russo

A closer look at the pedigrees of the entrants for the 140th running of the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes, to be contested Saturday at Pimlico

1. American Pharoah
(Pioneerof the Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman)

American Pharoah is the first classic winner for a young stallion who has already hinted at classic success. Pioneerof the Nile, also a Zayat Stables homebred trained by Bob Baffert, scored all his victories at 1 1/16 miles or beyond, including the Santa Anita Derby; he finished second in the 2009 Kentucky Derby. The sire’s representatives have included Cairo Prince and Vinceremos, both graded stakes winners on the 2014 Triple Crown trail; and Social Inclusion, third in last year’s Preakness Stakes. Pioneerof the Nile is by Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, one of three American classic winners sired by Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Unbridled. The top half of American Pharoah’s pedigree balances out a female family slanted heavily toward speed, as Littleprincessemma is a half-sister to graded stakes-winning sprinters Storm Wolf and Misty Rosette.

2. Dortmund
(Big Brown – Our Josephina, by Tale of the Cat)

Big Brown arrived at the Kentucky Derby undefeated, and won both that and the Preakness Stakes before faltering in the Belmont Stakes. Despite his own classic ability, Big Brown’s progeny have an average winning distance of less than a mile. Dortmund is the sire’s first graded stakes winner on dirt; his turf standouts include Group 3 winner Darwin. Dortmund’s extended female family includes champion Lakeville Miss.

3. Mr. Z
(Malibu Moon – Stormy Bear, by Storm Cat)

Malibu Moon is the sire of Orb, who won the 2013 Kentucky Derby on a sloppy track. Mr. Z’s half-brother Ibn Al Nafis is stakes-placed in Dubai at 1 ¼ miles. It is the family of Canadian Horse of the Year Chief Bearhart; Grade 1 Hollywood Derby winner Explosive Red; stakes winner Ruby Ransom, dam of graded stakes winner Strut the Stage; stakes winner and influential sire Mr. Prospector; Grade 1 winner and promising young sire Line of David; and Grade 1 winner Private Zone. Mr. Z might relish a wet track on Saturday.

4. Danzig Moon
(Malibu Moon—Leaveminthedust, by Danzig)

When Malibu Moon sired Derby winner Orb, he bolstered a resume that already included champion juvenile Declan’s Moon and multiple Grade 1 winners Life At Ten, Devil May Care, and Ask the Moon. His own career was cut short due to injury, breaking his maiden at five furlongs in his second and final start. Leaveminthedust went winless in three starts, with her best effort coming in a runner-up finish on the Saratoga turf going a mile and an eighth. Danzig Moon is a half sibling to Global Express, who has wins at distances from 1 3/8 miles to 1 ½ miles, and Horseshoe Hill, who broke his maiden at a mile and a sixteenth. Danzig Moon is another who might take well to a wet track.

5. Tale of Verve
(Tale of Ekati—Verve, by Unbridled)
Tale of Ekati’s first runners are 3-year-olds of 2015, led by Grade 2 winner Ekati’s Phaeton. Tale of Ekati won in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at a mile and an eighth, and the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap and finished fourth in the 2008 Kentucky Derby. Verve, a placed daughter of Unbridled, never raced at a distance shorter than a mile and 70 yards in 11 career starts. She is the dam of five winners from as many runners, from Pie Town, who won at 2 ½ miles over jumps and 1 1/16 miles over the flat, to sprinters Soul of Verve and Soul Patch. The dam is a half sister to Grade 1 winner Zoftig, who produced Grade 1 winner Zaftig.

6. Bodhisattva
(Student Council—Dr. Cheryl P., by Talk Is Money)
Student Council is a multiple Grade 1 winner at 1 3/16 miles and a mile and a quarter. The son of Kingmambo won eight of 31 starts for $1,567,731, with all but three coming at a mile or longer. He is the sire of four crops of racing age, led by Sister Ginger, a stakes winner at Oaklawn Park and Indiana Grand, and regional stakes winners Snappy Girl, Honey’s Ryan, and Private Tutor. Dr. Cheryl P. is an unraced daughter of Talk Is Money, and was sent to Venezuela in 2013. Bodhisattva is one of two winners from four runners out of the dam, also including full brother Professor Trek, who won races at a mile and a mile and 70 yards. The dam is a half sister to Wilko, winner of the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

7. Divining Rod
(Tapit—Precious Kitten, by Catienus)
Tapit had a magnificent year in 2014, breaking the single-year record for North American progeny earnings with runners including champion Untapable and Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist. All six of Tapit’s career starts came at a mile or longer, including a victory in the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial, and the Grade 3 Laurel Futurity at a mile and a sixteenth. Precious Kitten is a three-time Grade 1 winner on the turf, winning those races at distances from a mile to a mile and an eighth. She won six overall graded stakes and placed in two additional Grade 1s, all at a mile or longer. Divining Rod is her first foal to race. The dam is a half sister to turf champion and leading sire Kitten’s Joy, as well as multiple graded producer Justenuffheart.

8. Firing Line
(Line of David – Sister Girl Blues, by Hold For Gold)
Late-developing Line of David won the Arkansas Derby prior to an unplaced effort in the 2010 Kentucky Derby, his final career start. Firing Line is a first-crop representative for the son of Lion Heart – a brilliant individual who carried his speed well enough to finish second in the 2004 Derby. Grade 1-placed Sister Girl Blues debuted at age 3 and scored both wins at a mile or longer. There’s an extreme amount of class deep in Firing Line’s family. His fourth dam is a half-sister to Kentucky Oaks winner and blue hen Seaside Attraction, Canadian classic winner and champion Key to the Moon, and multiple Grade 1 winner Gorgeous. Others with ties to the family include European champion Swain and multiple Grade 1 winners Alpha, Turbulent Descent, and Flashing.